INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY MUST BE HARNESSED TO GLOBAL
It is a great pleasure to join you today. I have followed this series of workshops and seminars with keen interest. I think it’s remarkable that in just one year, close to 100 diplomats, almost half of them at the ambassadorial and ministerial level, have received intensive and innovative training -- and, I should add, have done so with visible enthusiasm and enjoyment.
This programme has been made possible by a very constructive partnership among the United Nations Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Task Force, the Economic and Social Council Working Group on Informatics, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), and the Intel Corporation. All deserve our congratulations for this contribution to our efforts to lay the foundation for universal participation in the global information society and to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
A very special word of appreciation is due to the Intel Corporation. Its participation in this series, and in other seminars and workshops organized by the ICT Task Force and UNITAR, demonstrates a strong commitment to the United Nations. Intel has generously provided the trainers, the manuals and the planning, as well as 40 computer stations for the United Nations training laboratories. Intel has also indicated that it wishes to continue this programme for the next year and beyond.
As if that wasn’t enough, Intel has informed us about a second gift it is planning for the United Nations: a complete wireless system that would enable laptops to be used throughout the United Nations complex without being physically plugged into telephone jacks. Again, let me express our gratitude for this remarkable show of support.
The end of this year’s series is also a time to look ahead. The ICT Task Force, UNITAR and Intel are planning to develop this programme for delivery over the Internet, so that its benefits can reach diplomats and international civil servants, wherever they may be. Efforts are also under way to expand the programme to include specialized courses for United Nations staff in locations outside New York. The United Nations Staff College in Turin is interested in becoming an early partner by providing academic and logistical support. I am sure that the experts among you can think of other initiatives that will help even more people benefit from ICT via training, education and capacity-building.
Information technology is not a magic formula that is going to solve all our problems. But, it is a powerful force that can and must be harnessed to our global mission of peace and development. This series has filled a void. It has forged a very productive partnership with the private sector that I hope will be replicated elsewhere. And it should help policy-makers prepare to get the most out of the World Summit on the Information Society, the first part of which is to be held in December next year. Congratulations again to all involved, and best wishes for success as you seek to expand its reach.
I would be remiss if I did not also thank the Chairman, Ambassador Kamal, for his role. I had known him when he was a Permanent Representative and now he is very, very active in what he calls his retirement. He can move mountains and he has moved mountains. You have our full admiration.
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